Old flip-flops + bath towel = DIY spa slippers

Handmade terrycloth slippers next to a bed, photo

When I told my brother about this week’s project, the first thing he said was, “You know you can buy those, right?” Halfway into the project, I started to wish I did. My old shower slippers fell apart recently. I examined the shreds and decided that I could make my own—only better. I bought a thrift-store bath towel for $1, grabbed an old pair of flip-flops, and went to work. So glad I stuck with it. They feel like heaven on my feet. (This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a small commission. You can read my full disclosure here.)

UPDATE 10/2011: Good news! These slippers are machine washable and dryable. I just pulled mine out of the dryer, and they’re clean, fluffy—and a little damp. They’ll need to air dry overnight.

Supplies to make slippers, photo

How to make spa slippers out of a towel and flip-flops

  • old flip-flops, thongs, zoris, sandals (whatever you call them)

  • old cotton terrycloth towel

  • ¼ yard polyester batting

  • ¼ yard faux leather

  • coordinating thread


Fair warning: Before attempting this project, please see step #21 below.*

Trace your flip-flops, photo

1. Cut off the thong part of the flip-flop. My kitchen shears were the only scissors I had that were strong enough. With a pencil, trace each sandal onto the back of the faux leather, which will be the sole of the slipper.

Add seam allowance, photo

2. Measure ⅝-inch around the outside and mark with dots. Connect the dots. This is the seam allowance.

Cut out the pattern, photo

3. Cut out the faux leather along the outer line.

Repeat the pattern on the towel, photo

4. Trace the leather cutout onto towel with fabric marker. Cut them out.

Repeat the pattern on the batting, photo

5. Do the same thing with the batting.

Measure around the flip-flop, photo

6. Measure around the outside edge to determine the length of the side pieces.

Measure the height of the sandal, photo

7. Measure the height of the thickest point of the sandal to determine the width of the side pieces.

Strips of fabric and batting, photo

8. For the side pieces, cut two strips of towel. They should be about two inches longer than the circumference of the sandal and 1¼ inches wider than the height of the sandal (height + ⅝-inch seam + ⅝-inch seam). I also cut the same size strips in the batting, but ended up not using them because of thickness problems. You’ll see.

Expanded design drawn around template, photo

9. This is where some guesswork comes in. For the top pieces, draw around the outside of the leather pattern, flaring out a bit toward the heel, which will accommodate your foot. Then draw another line ⅝ inch outside of that line (for the seam) and cut out.

Four tops of slippers cut out, photo

10. Cut four top pieces. You can use the same pattern for all of them because the towel is reversible.

Cut out the batting the same size, photo

11. Cut out two pieces of batting the same size.

Cut the batting smaller, photo

12. Trim off about ⅝ inch from the bottom so they’ll fit inside better.

All the cut pieces, photo

13. All the pieces you need are now cut. (I discarded the thin strips of batting in this photo.)

Sew the bottom edge, photo

14. Sew the bottom edges of the top pieces (⅝-inch seam allowance). Turn right side out and insert batting.

Sew the remaining sides, photo

15. Sew the top edges together with the batting inside (½-inch seam allowance).

Sewn footbed pieces, photo

16. Sew the footbed pieces to the batting (½-inch seam allowance).

Sew the sides to the sole, photo

17. Starting at the heel, sew the thin strips of towel to the outside edge of the faux leather sole (½-inch seam allowance).

Check that the heel is overlapping, photo

18. Make sure you start with the short edge folded back in the correct direction, then overlap the other short edge at the end. Hand sew the two ends together. I used a whip stitch.

Snip the sole, photo

19. Snip out triangles from the seam of the sole. This will help it bend correctly when it’s turned right-side-out.

Use binder clips as pins, photo

20. The layers were too thick for straight pins, so I used large binder clips to attach the top piece to the foot bed. Place the sole upside down on top of the other two pieces.

Sew all layers together, photo

21. Sew all three pieces (top, foot bed, and leather sole) together in one seam (½-inch seam allowance) — leaving the heel open large enough to insert the flip-flop.

*My sewing machine was unable to handle the bulk of the fabric for this last seam (same with my fingers), so I took them to European Cobblery (a shoe-repair shop), and Jessica sewed them on her heavy-duty machine. It cost me $28 (with a 20% off coupon).

Insert the flip-flop, photo

22. Turn right side out and insert the flip-flop.

Finished slippers, photo

23. Hand sew the heel portion closed. You can use a hidden stitch or whip stitch. The whip stitch is easier in this case, and it’s nearly invisible against the terry cloth anyway.

Crafty Nest DIY spa slippers Pinterest photo

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